GARY SAILS INTO SUMMER AFTER SUPER BUSY SPRINGJust back from multiple appearances at Krakow's Jewish Cultural Festival in Poland, where he performed several Golem shows in the local cinema, and solo acoustic on the mainstage during the final night, which was broadcast live on national tv there, Gary heads out July 8th as Artist in Residence at the Quebec City Summer Festival. He will make multiple appearances during the week in Quebec, including playing with his French rock confreres Tanger (he coproduced and collaborated with them on their last album for Mercury/Universal), as well as gigs with his longtime band Gods and Monsters, Chinese pop collaborations with pipa whiz/vocalist Min Xiao-Fen, a Golem show, and an improv duo collaboration with international techno savant DJ Spooky (check out their "Golgotha" track on Gary's "Improve the Shining Hour" album).
This follows on the heels of his busiest, most successful spring to date, which encompassed a 7 week tour of Northern Europe and many stellar shows in home base NYC. The tour began late March with a live appearance on Charlie Gillett's 30th anniversary radio broadcast for the BBC, where Gary performed several tracks from his accolade-laden Chinese pop CD "The Edge of Heaven" (Label Bleu—still going strong after 9 months post-release, and just issued in Japan to rave reviews there) in the company of such luminaries as Nick Lowe, author Nick Hornsby, and Fado singer supreme Mariza, in the cozy environs of London's Kashmir Klub. Gary later remarked that this broadcast was one of the most unforgettable highlights of his performing career—he has the warmest regards for the host Charlie Gillett and his unflagging support for Gary's music. From there Gary went to Marseilles to begin a month of solo shows around France, including an incredibly well received gig at the Amiens Festival, as well as several instore appearances where Gary met and made new fans up close in the intimate setting of Harmona Mundi disc boutiques. A long interview with Gary plus photo also ran in the French national daily Liberation, thanks to Label Bleu's Marjorie Coste, which helped bring out the French audiences in droves. The tour also encompassed several Swiss shows, including a raucous double bill at the Reithalle with gypsy-punkers Gogol Bordello in Bern, home of his dear friends Hans Ruprecht and Marianne Adank, and then a swing east to Vienna, where he spent 2 days doing interviews and tv promotions for his new album (a clip of Gary playing in the new Kunst Museum there aired on ORF tv to help promote his gig at Porgy and Bank)—special thanks to Harald Tautscher for all his help in setting up so much press coverage. From there it was a flight back to London and an incredibly well received show at the Borderline, his second appearance there, and like last year's show the gig garnered a pick of the week with colour photo in Time Out London—the manic audience insisting on multiple encores from Gary, who happily obliged while his friends John and MaryLou Stewart helped sell a record number of CDs for Gary. Then back to Berlin for a show at the deluxe Trannenpalast that coincided with an long interview in the German daily newspaper Der Tagespiegel, and a much needed day off in the company of his pal the journalist and Berlin expatriate Ed Ward. This was followed by a long train ride back to Paris and 2 nights of 6 sets total in the jazz club Sunset, which were packed thanks to concert picks in all the major papers and music magazines for the shows. Gary was joined there by his longtime French friend popstar Elli Medeiros, who arrived on the arm of her new beau the film director Brian DePalma, whose new film "Femme Fatale" has just opened in France to raves. The pair performed "Dulce" from his "Improve the Shining Hour" album—other visitors to the club during his residency included jazz saxophonist Steve Coleman and famous erotic photographer Roy Stuart. Then off east again when a 14 hour train trip took him from Paris to his ancestral home (on his father's side), the Czech Republic, where Gary was met by his longtime friend and musical associate Richard Mader a/k/a Faust, with whom Gary had previously recorded "The Ghosts of Prague" album. Rihard drove Gary to his first ever gig in Slovakia in the city of Bratislava, followed by an amazing gig in Kolin at the LaFrance club, a famous roadside club in the countryside outside Prague, where Gary was joined by Plastic People sax player Vrat Brabanec for a fiery duo blues improvisation. The magic was repeated in the studio the next day when Faust organized a recording session in his own Faust Studios with the cream of the underground Czech music scene, including a local digeridoo and tabla player, sax player Vrat Brabenec, the violinist from Pavel Ryba's band, and especially Mirka Krivankova, the doyen of Czech avant-garde vocalese. The ensemble improvised cosmic soundscapes to the other worldly science fiction paintings of a local Prague visionary artist which festooned Faust Studios, for a projected CDRom release next year. Gary finally ended the tour with a triumphant show at Amsterdam's famed Paradiso several days later. In a jubilant celebratory atmosphere fueled by national press raves for his new Chinese album (including one in De Volkskrant which declared it his breakthrough masterpiece), Gary had his largest Dutch crowd ever, hundreds of fans going mad for his solo guitar pyrotechnics in his favorite European venue.
Then it was homecoming time in NYC, studded with outstanding gigs, especially an evening's taping for the Jazz Channel's "Live at the Knitting Factory" show of both his Chinese pop, project featuring Austrian chanteuse Gisburg, and his longtime band Gods and Monsters with Ernie Brooks and Jonathan Kane—special guest vocalist for the night was Elli Medeiros, in town with Brian DePalma who also attended the show, plus stellar guest instrumentalist's Jason Candler on alto sax and 17 year old trombone prodigy Joey Hendel. Then it was a showcase for his new Chinese pop duo featuring internationally acclaimed Nanking pipa whiz Min Xiao-Fen, whose collaborations in the past have included stints with the Shanghai Symphony, Tan Dun, Derek Bailey, and Randy Weston. Her masterful playing dovetailed nicely with Gary's acoustic guitar arrangements at Tonic, and her singing lit the lamps of the precious Chow Hsuan and Bai Kwong repertoire featured on Gary's new album. The large crowd left buzzing about this great new world music collaboration, and fans have a chance for a return glimpse at the Knitting Factory on Friday July 19th, followed by an all acoustic Gary solo show the following night there. Lastly, Gary made a trek to Boston in the company of Peter Stampfel to Johnny D's in early June when a night of Du-Tels madness reigned supreme. Check out their contribution to the new WFMU sampler "Don't Shoot the Toy Piano Player". And watch out for a feature length interview with Gary in the upcoming issue of the British world music bible fRoots, out July 15th in the UK replete with a track from Gary's Chinese album on a free sampler CD; as well as a transcription of one of Gary's Chinese pop arrangements in the next issue of the English magazine Total Guitar.